Down Memory Lane for July 12

Jan. 20, 1966

It is rather appropriate that the newly founded Historical Society of Rappahannock has chosen February 8 for its first annual meeting. The society, formed a year ago December 14, has voted to honor the 133rd birthday of our country by moving up the anniversary date to correspond to that of February 8. On that date in 1833 the General Assembly of Virginia approved the cutting out of Culpeper County for what is now known as Rappahannock.

The meeting will mark the first year for the society, although it did not achieve nearly the objectives it set out for itself for the first year. It can be said that it opened many doors to new and forgotten information on early history here.

Some excellent beginnings have been made to find how life was in the American Indian days, and in the gradual development of the valleys by the settlers. Many interesting stories are coming to light through the study of old records, wills, artifacts, letters and reports. A good start has been made on counting, identifying and locating on a master map all the old cemeteries under the chairmanship of Dr. William Wake. Several people are working with Mr. Tom Illar and George Davis to locate and identify Native American markings throughout the county.

C. E. Johnson, Jr., of Sperryville, was named to the Board of Directors of the Virginia Horticultural Society at its meeting this week in Roanoke.

The major problem presently facing the fruit growers of Virginia is the confused and uncertain labor situation, which has arisen since the government did away with the Mexican labor program. This program had enabled horticulturists to supplement local labor with foreign labor.

Foreign labor may be brought in under the general immigration law, but this is expensive and does not provide enough manpower.

Sept. 16, 1998

In an informal work session, the Town Planning Commission reviewed one-half of the 24 pages of the Town of Washington’s Comprehensive Plan. The commission made changes in the text that corrected grammatical and typographical errors, and updated changes in the town’s business community and sewage system planning.

The comprehensive plan was adopted in 1986 and is reviewed every five years as required by Virginia Law. The last review was in 1993.

Jean Butler read aloud each paragraph, then discussed any needed changes with commission members Mitzie Young, Carolyn Thornton and Steve Critzer. Town resident and businessmen John Byam joined in much of the discussion.

A food shop, bookstore and video shop were removed from the list of town businesses, while a real estate office and fourth bed and breakfast were added.

Also, wording such as “minutes taker” was changed to “administrative assistant,” and “10 kilometer” was changed to “10 K.” Still to be checked for change are the percentages for sources of tax revenues.

The Washington Town Council approved two small boundary adjustments to the property of C. E. Giles Jr. and Erma H. Jenkins after considerable discussion. The council examined each part of the transfer in detail while Town Attorney Frank Reynolds cited zoning and building codes several times.

The issue came up that if a waiver were approved without following present zoning ordinances, bad precedent would be established. Especially vocal in opposition to approving the waiver was council member Charles Tompkins, although several other council members said they had difficulty ignoring the 15-foot setback from the property line that is required for buildings when any changes are made in boundary adjustments. The only way to approve it within the current regulations was to classify it as a pre-existing situation.

In the end, Tompkins stood alone in opposition. He said he was troubled by the logic of the council’s decision. He added: “It has to do with the law. Do our own ordinances mean what they say?”

He added later that allowing the proposed boundary adjustment weakened the ordinance and that a better way to accomplish this would have been to amend the law.